The Binji are a small people from the Bushoong branch, established in the east of the former Kuba kingdom. A regional version of the Bwoom mask, its swollen cheeks indicate that it embodies an outgoing or violent character, appearing mainly during initiation ceremonies and funerals. Crusty dark brown patina, locally flaking, desiccation cracks.
More than twenty types of masks are used among the Kuba, with meanings and functions that vary from group to group. Three types of masks have been associated with dances that take place in the royal enclosure: the first, called Moshambwooy, represents Woot, the founder of the Bushoong, the culture hero. The second, known as Nady Amwaash (Ngaady Un Mwash), plays Woot's wife/sister, a character said to have been introduced for the sake of giving more prominence to the role of women. The third mask is called Bwoom. As a character, Bwoom has been variously interpreted as a prince (the king's younger brother), a man of the people, a pygmy, even a subversive element in the royal court.
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